In the fanciful movie The Neverending Story, a boy named Bastian ducks into a bookstore to avoid a group of bullies. When the storeowner tries to move him back to the street, Bastian offers that he should be allowed to stay. He likes books. In fact, he names some of the classics he has read already.
As their exchange continues, the boy spots a book that sparks this dialogue:
"What's that book about?" asks Bastian.
"Oh, this is something special," replies the shop's owner.
"Well, what is it?" says the curious boy.
"Look. Your books are safe. While you're reading them you get to become Tarzan or Robinson Crusoe."
"But that's what I like about them," says Bastian.
"Yes, but afterwards you get to be a little boy again."
"What do you mean?"
"Listen," says the man. "Have you ever been Captain Nemo, trapped inside your submarine while the giant squid was attacking you?"
"Weren't you afraid you couldn't escape?"
"But it's only a story," protests the boy.
"That's what I'm talking about. The ones you read are safe."
To which Bastian says, "And that one isn't?"
It is only fair that you should be warned: The Bible you have on your desk or shelf is unsafe! It could do strange, unsettling things to you. It can turn your life upside down. It might actually change you to the degree that old friends would declare you are not the same person they have known across the years.
The Bible is the story of God's activity in history to draw human beings into the life of Jesus. It challenges us to see that Jesus has all authority — in heaven and on earth — to mark the way, model the truth, and give life. Jesus alone. And the Bible is the volume that points us to him for meaning, identity, and purpose.
People who want the security of personal comfort and self-directed lives had better steer clear of the Bible. It pulls us out of ourselves. It calls for self-emptying and Christ-focus. It teaches kindness, self-restraint, and love for our neighbors.
The Bible is anything but safe, for it draws us to the life-transforming Jesus.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12-13).
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:12-17).